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(Photo: Christian Koelle)

Tracking the Trucks: Timothy Peters Survives to Win at Talladega

In a Nutshell: In a result mirroring February’s Daytona 500, Timothy Peters won his 11th career race, and his third at Talladega Superspeedway, driving the No. 25 Chevy Silverado for GMS Racing to Victory Lane following the Fr8 Auctions 250 after Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Noah Gragson was spun from the lead on the final lap. Peters was slightly ahead of teammate Justin Haley when the caution was issued, cementing the victory while technically never leading a lap.

Besides Gragson, ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger was also spun from the lead following the final restart, and KBM’s Todd Gilliland took himself out of contention trying to pass Enfinger for the lead with less than 10 laps to go. The Big One came on lap 58 (of 90), immediately parking six vehicles and involving many more.

“You grew up on the short tracks, you’re a short track driver,” Peters said about himself. “I took a liking to [superspeedway racing], but when you come to the race track, it isn’t just me. It’s [crew chief] Jerry [Baxter], it’s Maury [Gallagher], it’s the organization he’s put together … the race is won at the shop.”

Who Should Have Won: 

Spencer Gallagher was piloting the No. 2 truck for GMS Racing following the departure of Cody Coughlin, and he led the most laps, but he was out of contention following the Big One on lap 59.

Enfinger and KBM’s Noah Gragson led late, but were each spun from the lead following the final restart.

Race Rundown

The Big One

It took until lap 59 to occur, but when it struck, The Big One hit with a vengeance, shutting down six trucks on the spot and heavily damaging several others.

Playoff drivers Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes, and Brett Moffitt were all involved, as were Parker Kligerman, Chris Fontaine and John Hunter Nemechek.

“That’s Talladega,” Crafton told FOX. “That’s what we race here for: wild wrecks and crazy finishes. … We had a great first two segment and then got hooked in the right rear in that one.”

Every Point Matters

The first stage was caution-free and won by Enfinger, with ThorSport’s Matt Crafton, on the bubble coming in, finishing fourth. while Todd Gilliland won the second stage and Crafton finished second. Those stage points provided the cushion he needed to squeak through into the semifinal round of the playoffs.

Bubble driver Stewart Friesen had an awful day, including an ailing engine and pit road penalties, but managed to coax his No. 52 through to the checkered flag and finish in sixth.  Still, it wasn’t enough to keep him from being eliminated.

Rhodes was able to survive the Lap 59 crash, though he was several laps down, and though he was able to claw back to one lap down and be third in line on the final restart, it wasn’t enough, as the No. 41 was credited with a 27th-place result.

Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Brett Moffitt’s No. 16 Toyota was also damaged in the Big One, but his team was able to keep the crippled truck rolling and 17th-place was good enough to keep the four-time winner’s title hopes alive.

Quick Hits: 

  • Before being taken out in the Big One while running second in his self-owned No. 47, Chris Fontaine was able to stay up near the leaders in a truck that was 20 years old, though Gallagher was dismissive of his accomplishment in his post-crash interview with Fox.
  • Wendell Chavous finished fifth in his final NASCAR start, stating that “They always say it’s better that you leave when you’re on top instead of being in the back. It’s sad. I’ll miss these guys. But I’m not saying I won’t never be back again. I just have other more important things to take care of in my life right now. Racing has a weight.”
  • Other underdogs having strong results were Jordan Anderson in seventh in his self-owned No. 3, Bryan Dauzat in the sixth GMS truck, the No. 28, and Young’s Motorsports teammates Max Tullman (No. 20) and Austin Hill (No. 02) were ninth and 10th.
  • The starting command was given by the president of Fr8 Auctions, and it was pretty solid, as these things go.

Truck Rookie Report

2018 Rookie of the Year Candidates:

No. 4 Todd Gilliland
No. 13 Myatt Snider
No. 25 Dalton Sargeant (departed team)
No. 45 Justin Fontaine
No. 54 Bo LeMastus

No. of rookies in the race: 4.

No. of rookies to finish in the top 10: Snider, finished second.

Rookie of the Race: Snider.

Points Update:

Rhodes and Friesen were eliminated from the 2018 CWTS playoffs when the checkered flag waved. Advancing were Enfinger and Haley on wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, respectively. Sauter, Gragson, Moffitt and Crafton all advanced on points.

Haley and Crafton sit on the bad side of the cutline now at four and 11 points back, respectively.

Sauter holds a probably-safe 24-point advantage, while Moffitt and Gragson begin the Round of 6 with a cushion of nine and six points over fourth-place Enfinger.

Tweetable:

Up Next:

The CWTS goes from the largest track on the circuit to the smallest at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 27 for the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions. It will go green around 1 p.m. ET, with TV coverage on FS1, and radio coverage on your local MRN affiliate station.

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About Wesley Coburn

Wesley Coburn
Wesley loves well-told stories in whatever format he finds them. Aside from NASCAR, he enjoys reading, country music, OKC Thunder basketball and superhero TV/movies. He has a BA in Liberal Arts/English and currently lives in eastern Oklahoma.

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